An investigation of the impeller and deposit samples from a centrifugal compressor revealed that an aluminum IR-12 refrigerant reaction had occurred, causing extensive damage to the second-stage impeller and contaminating the internal compressor components. The spherical surface morphology of the impeller fragments suggested that the aluminum had melted and resolidified. The deposits were similar in composition and were identified by XRD as consisting primarily of aluminum trifluoride. In addition, EDS analysis detected major amounts of chlorine and iron. Results of a combustion test indicated that the compressor deposit was comprised of a 9. 8 wt% carbon and that the condenser deposit contained 8.7 wt% carbon. It was concluded that the primary cause of failure was the rubbing of the impeller against the casting and that a self-sustaining Freon fire had occurred in the failed compressor
Anthony C. Studer, Aluminum/Refrigerant Reaction Resulting in the Failure of a Centrifugal Compressor, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 320–323, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.v02.c9001364
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